Emeriti Lecture Featuring Bill Friedland
TRAMPLING OUT ADVANTAGE: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF CALIFORNIA WINE AND GRAPES
03/04/2013 Monday 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
California grapes are first in the nation financially and second in economic value of all California agricultural commodities. Wine makes up much of grapes economic value, with California producing 90% of US wine. California inherits, along with other wine producing nations, a cultural legacy dating back eight millennia. Although California wine has a much shorter history, beginning during the mission period, its modern period dates essentially from the early 1970s. Its efflorescence began in the 1970s with two significant events: a Bank of America report calling attention to the increasing significance of wine consumption, and the Paris wine tasting that compared French and California wines in a blind tasting by notable French oenophile experts who thought California wines were French and French wines were Californian.
The California wine industry is highly structured in production and consumption. The bulk of California wine is produced by a handful of companies using hundreds of labels to mask their corporate ownership. Consumption is stratified into a limited number of economic ranks. Boutique- and medium-scale wineries have multiplied significantly and by their sheer numbers and provide an almost infinite number of wine choices.
Wine tastings, essential to encouraging consumption, have enjoyed high national and California enthusiasm both at hundreds of California tasting rooms, in varietal tastings, as well as national tastings in which hundreds of producers present their wines.
A complex of cultural manifestations have been accumulated over thousands of years in which humans have appreciated wine for its psychotropic character, particularly in its relationship to food. Gods such as Dionysius of the Greeks and Bacchus of the Romans were indelibly associated with wine. The behavioral and material culture of wine has elaborated a stunning collection of cultural artifacts. California wine continues to generate new cultural artifacts, conforming to the long human history with wine.
Music Center Recital Hall - West part of campus
Open to Public